Where do you live? Are there a lot of places in your country where you go and think: why on earth haven’t I visited before, it’s so stunning here! Well, that’s how I felt when I first stayed on Texel island in the north on The Netherlands a few weeks ago. The landscape is stunning, but I was maybe even more struck by the fantastic quality of everything I ate. Most produce is grown or made right on the island. So I thought: let’s do a self-guided food tour on Texel!
Planning your trip to Texel
- From Amsterdam, take the train to Den Helder. At the station, take a bus to the ferry terminal. Foot passengers don’t have to make a reservation for passage on the ferry. If you’ve rented a car, I do advise you to book ahead (it’s easy). You can travel on all public transport in The Netherlands with your OV Chip Card which you charge as you go.
- Find out all there is to see and you on Texel island, in my complete Texel travel guide.
- Looking for a great hotel? I highly recommend staying at Hotel Texel, which is a lovely boutique hotel and all you need for some serious pampering. If you’re travelling with your family or friends and rather stay somewhere self-catering, Landal Sluftervallei is the place to go.
- Also, read 16 great things to do on Texel.
Self-guided food tour on Texel
Texel island is part of the Wadden Islands, listed as UNESCO world heritage because of its unique ecosystem. And somehow this also seeps through in everything that is produced on the island. Farmers use seaweed to fertilise vegetables, breweries use water from the dunes and cows and sheep roam around freely, munching on the juicy grass.
And when it all ends up on your plate or in your glass, you simply taste that life is pure, simple and honest on Texel island. Plus, a bit of a food tour is an excellent way to see all nooks and corners of Texel. Grab a bib, this blog post will probably make you salivate, a little.
Coffee and cake at Timmer
First stop is always a coffee stop! And this one is in Den Burg, the unofficial capital of Texel right in the heart of the island. Bakker Timmer is right in the cosy city centre of Den Burg and as the name suggests it’s a bakery, but as soon as you walk in, you want to grab one of the few seats in the back and roam the glass cases as there are simply too many cakes and tarts to chose from. And it’s cheap, I mean…. really cheap. And good. So, maybe you might as well take two.
If you’re after something a tad more modern, Den Burg has plenty more to offer. I personally really loved Lokaal 16, on the edge of the city centre set in one of Texel’s traditional houses, painted soft blue. It doesn’t really matter when you visit Lokaal 16, as long as you do. They serve lovely breakfasts, scrumptious salads and rolls for lunch and nice wine and beers in the afternoon. Or go for some organic lemonade.
Pluktuin: fresh fruit and flowers
When growing up we’d frequently visit family in England in summer and we’d always go strawberry picking together at one of the ‘Pick your own’ farms or gardens that are scattered all over the country. These places are a lot scarcer in The Netherlands. That’s why I was so delighted to find out Texel has a ‘pick your own’ place, called Zelfpluktuin.
The gardens are open from April through October, and when entering the adjacent café signs immediately show what’s up for picking that day, there’s often a choice of various types of berries and grapes. When I visited I picked blackberries, strawberries and cherry tomatoes. Don’t skip the flower garden to pick your own amazing field bouquet. The café is a snug place for coffee, a freshly baked piece of pie. There are also lots of scrumptious jams, juices and lemonades for sale.
If you visited one of the beach clubs before going on this food tour, you’ve probably tasted a ‘Skuumkoppe’, which translates into ‘foam head’ and is a reference to both the foam on the high waves that crash the Texel beaches year round and the foam on top of our Dutch beers. Skuumkoppe is made by Texelse Bierbrouwerij which is found a stone’s throw away from Zelfpluktuin and has made a name for itself rapidly since brewing its first beer 20 years ago.
The brewery uses water from the dunes of Texel, which is particularly mild and this gives all the beers a nice and soft flavour. The brewery is still relatively small and offers daily guided tours (make a reservation for joining one) with a beer tasting at the end. Personally, I was blown away by Vuurbaak, which is a red ale and their seasonal beer Seumerfeugel, with hints of samphire.
With Texel being an island, it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of amazing fish to be had. If you’d like some fresh fish for lunch or buy some fish and seafood to prepare yourself at night, visiting Oude Vismarkt in Oudeschild is the best place for it. This brand new fish shop is set in the old fish exchange, which has been completely renovated. Both locals and tourists make their way to Oude Vismarkt to have lunch at one of the wooden tables. What’s been caught that morning, is on your plate just a few hours later.
Texel for cheese lovers
As you may have read in my article about traditional Gouda, I don’t like cheese. And with ‘don’t like’ I mean that I think cheese is severy disgusting! But hey, in the name of blogging, my curiosity sometimes takes over, so I can wholeheartedly recommend visiting cheese farm Wezenspyck where you can buy and taste the salty small cheeses Texel is so famous for. In the café cheese tastings are available or you can order a cheese fondue from homemade cheeses for lunch. If you’re into sheep cheese, visit De Waddel where lamb and sheep cheese is sold from April to October.
Dutch wine tasting at De Kroon
I’ll be honest, I am a little sceptical when it comes to Dutch wine. I mean, wine grapes need a lot of sunshine, and even though we do have good summers, The Netherlands are not exactly known for their sunny climate. Whenever I think of Dutch wine I have visions of wry plonk. But I have been proving wrong about this a couple of times. I have had some amazing white wine from Zeeland, which is so good that KLM has even selected it as their wine served in business class.
And I got proven wrong again at De Kroon in Texel, where the white wines and rosé is just really good. They do admit that maybe they can’t profit from high temperatures, like grapes in Italy or the south of France can, but Texel gets plenty of sunshine every year and this is beneficial to the grapes. The vineyard only produces about 5000 bottles a year, so grab one if you can.
The best seafood on Texel ‘t Pakhuus
Now, I’m not in the habit of forcing my readers to do anything. But I really feel you’ve not visited Texel properly if you haven’t had lunch or dinner at ‘t Pakhuus. First of all, the setting is just amazing, in a completely renovated old warehouse along the Oudeschild harbour. Whilst eating you can watch the ships come in and sail out.
Second of all, because ‘t Pakhuus probably offers the best seafood that’s on offer in Texel. Because of the unique situation between the North Sea and the Wadden Sea, all sorts of beautiful fish and shellfish are caught and these are all beautifully served up at ‘t Pakhuus. Husband and I went there for a three-course lunch and were simply elated. We had locally grown oysters, a lobster bisque and salads made with freshly caught tuna and salmon. Even though the restaurant looks a little posh, we were more than welcome with our baby in the pram, who slept the whole way through lunch.
Bij Jef: Michelin star restaurant on Texel
Since restaurants in general offer amazing food in Texel, I shouldn’t have been surprised that Michelin would award one of them. Bij Jef is a one star Michelin restaurant and lives up to its expectations. Eating à la carte is quite pricey, but the set menus are well priced and worth every Euro. Jeff cooks with local produce and every course is a surprise and a little party for your taste buds.
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